Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chef Stacey Loves Da Kids!

You know, God has blessed me with so much in my life and I find myself always wanting and searching for ways to give back.  One particular way that I love to give back is with my time, because time is my most valuable assets.  Last week I was blessed with the opportunity to speak to children at two different elementary schools, Rainbow Academy and Whitney Elementary.  Wow, the things that kids can teach us nowadays and how knowledgeable some of these children are is unbelievable.  I just want to recap a couple of highlights from last week’s visits to the schools.  It was fun and definitely memorable.  I pray that I was able to make a positive difference in at least one child’s life, because the children definitely made a difference in mine.

Rainbow Academy
I was invited by Mrs. Lashelle Whitmore to read to her 4th grade class for 15 minutes.   I said that I would be wearing my chefs’ uniform and would like to read a story that relates to cooking or food (I gotta always stay within my healthy eating genre and continue to create the Chef Stacey Dougan brand ya know).  When I walked into the classroom, I had about 40 4th grade students oohing and ahhing saying “oooohhh a chef!”  They were so excited!  Then I immediately got the 3rd degree barrage of questions…intelligent questions such as “What inspired you to be a chef?”, “What were your thoughts as a child?”, “What is your favorite thing to cook?”  The children knew the definition of a vegetarian and were amazed that I had not eaten meat in 12 years. 
The children also had some very personal questions for me, which I thought was amusing and did not mind answering…”How old are you?”, “Are you married?”; “Do you have any kids”?  Wow! 
We had a great time and afterwards the children sang two songs for me, while I danced along.  What a day!  I had soooooo much fun and I can’t wait to go back…and give back.

Whitney Elementary
My good friend Rosalind Brooks and I have decided to create a program to teach children about healthy eating.  So we decided to start with the Whitney Elementary after school program for children whose families are living at poverty level and/or are homeless.  We also teamed up with Chipotle Mexican Grill for our first day. 

I showed the children how to prepare a meatless beef crumble from “Smart Ground” and I prepared a vegan burrito. The kids LOVED it!  Chipotle provided vegetarian burritos, fresh corn salad, homemade salsa, fresh guacamole and those awesome lime salt tortilla chips.  Now, I’ll be honest, I didn’t think the kids were gonna like the guacamole because it was green or the veggie burritos because it was filed with, well, vegetables.  But those kids proved me wrong!  They not only loved the food but a few of them told me that they know about tofu and they like tofu!  Now that’s better than most adults.  What a great time we had. And the food was amazing.

The Haile Selassie Children’s Library and Resource Center (Accra, Ghana)
My very dear friend Chiedza Makonnen started this project and I cannot express how near and dear this is to my heart!  Most of you all know that I lived in Ghana for 2 years and I LOVE Ghana!  A few days ago, when I found out about this project, I immediately donated $300 and will give more as the project moves along.  Here is the mission statement:

 “The mission of The Haile Selassie Children's Library and Resource Center is to provide access to literature, literacy classes and computer access to disenfranchised youth 4-19 years of age within the Jamestown, section of Ghana’s capital of Accra. The center also serves as a community space where parents, teachers, mentors and volunteers can create and implement innovative policies and programs affecting positive change for Ghana’s youth”.

If you would like to give back, I would appreciate your support of this project.  You can go to and donate anything from money, to clothes, to books.  Whatever resources you have that you think we can use, let us know.  It doesn’t matter how small.  I can also be contacted via email:

Another day of giving back…gotta love this life! 

Moral of this blog post:  God has blessed you, so find a way to give back.  And please tell me about it, I would love to hear your story! 

In Joy,

Chef Stacey

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Burning Creme Brulee

You know, starting something new is never easy.  Like take my blog for example.  Yes, I have had this blog since October 2010 and every now and then, when I feel like it and when there is a full moon and the stars align, I might actually post something in my blog.  But really, it has just been used as a tool to post information about my raw food classes and I admittedly have not been consistent. 

So let’s just say that today, on the eve of my 36th birthday, I am starting anew…and no, it’s not easy.  It’s not easy because in my head, I have made it difficult.  I don’t want to “mess up” my blog.  I don’t want to write stories that people won’t care about.  I don’t want to be insignificant.  But now I realize that my entire life IS full of significance and that people really do want to hear about me and my daily activities (as crazy as that often sounds to me).  I usually get about 3-4 inquiries a week about “how things are going at Wynn?” or “how are things going with your chef business?”.  I never knew that people were actually interested in what I do.  But I have some very interesting and funny stories about my personal chef business and my time at the fabulous Wynn Las Vegas Banquet and Catering Kitchen and so this is where I begin…
I recently celebrated my one year anniversary working at Wynn and my time there has been filled with life’s learning lessons complete with laughter, tears, sweat and blood…literally.  I’m not gonna give you all of the lessons and stories today, but I will tell the story that I feel is most relevant to my entire experience at Wynn thus far.  I had an “aha” moment the other day…when I burned the Crème Brulee.

Since my first day, I have felt and quite honestly, have been the “black sheep” of the Wynn Catering and Banquets Kitchen.  I am the ONLY vegan who works in Catering and Banquets and its safe to say that I am the only vegan who works in Food and Beverage on the entire Wynn and Encore property.  Prior to working at Wynn, I had not touched meat in 12 years.  Let me just say that going from preparing baked tofu cutlets to searing raw fleshy bloody filet mignon was an adjustment.  And this adjustment carries over to all aspects of the kitchen.  Here is my story:

Last week, on a lovely and very very very early (4am early) Wednesday morning, I arrive at the Wynn Kitchen ready to learn new and exciting techniques, sharpen my skills and take on the world in the pastry department.  I am given the task of cooking 500 crème brulee cups for the week.  I immediately get to work and count out my ramekins and begin the task of filling each one to the perfect amount.  I double check the temperature on the oven and make sure it is set to 225 degrees and then I gently place all the crème brulee in the oven, rack by rack.  No need to put on the timer,  because last time the crème brulee took about an hour or so to cook.  So I thought.

I go about my other tasks and leave the crème brulee in the oven to bake, and bake, and bake, and bake and bake…and after a bathroom break, I come back to the kitchen and see one of my co-workers pulling what I thought were perfectly cooked crème brulee out of the oven.  But behind her was the morning pastry chef scowling at me with a very disapproving eye and another pastry chef shaking her head saying “Stacey Stacey Stacey”.   Apparently, I was a bit off on my timing because in the huge industrial ovens in the Wynn Kitchen, the crème brulee only take about 20-25 minutes to cook. Crème brulee is not supposed to come out of the oven with a light brown crust on them.  The light brown crust is induced by adding sugar and burning the tops. 

Now if you would’ve caught me a few months ago, I would have felt terrible for burning the crème brulee.  I would’ve beat myself up, replaying the scenario over and over in my head and even telling myself that “I am no good as a chef, I suck, and I should, in the words of the judges of Top Chef “pack my knives and go””.  But this wasn’t the case today.  Today I am more confident.  So I first attempted to explain to the pastry chef the reason why I kept the crème brulee in the oven for so long.  But I was quickly met with a disdainful retort of “that’s not the point”. Based on the chefs’ reaction, something inside me told me to switch gears…so I did.  I immediately apologized, and my apology went a little something like this “I apologize for burning the crème brulee, I did not do it on purpose and it will not happen again”.  Silence.  No retort.  Nothing.  So I went about preparing another 250 crème brulee (only half of them were burned) and I was able to execute with success.  You see, I know where my heart lies and I know that I am going to make mistakes.  It is inevitable.  I will not beat myself up or allow anyone else to beat me up because of a mistake that I made.

The interesting part of this scenario comes from the executive chef of the entire kitchen.  He is the big boss and if you can avoid making mistakes in front of him, you should.  He came in the pastry kitchen and saw the crème brulee.  He immediately thought it was one of my co-workers who was responsible for burning them.  I did not want to run from the blame so I fessed up and told the chef that it was indeed, I, who burned the crème brulee.  He looked at me, smiled and said “this is not tofu Stacey” and walked away.   I thought it was funny, and so did everyone else in the pastry kitchen.  Heck, if the executive chef is not upset then why should we be?  But one thing I know, and the executive chef understands is that I am new to this entire field of non-vegan food preparation.  Preparing food with eggs and milk and crème and flesh and all manner of animal parts is not what I am used to so I am at a slight disadvantage.  I am literally learning on the job.  Who knew that the crème brulee, if cooked too long would turn to scrambled eggs?  I guess everyone except me.  But the moral of this story is this:  Give me time.  Time is my friend and my teacher.  My mistakes are gifts to teach me lessons on patience and steadfastness.  From now on, I will be much more careful in my cooking.  I will not offer excuses because people don’t want to hear them.  What people want to hear is humility and now I understand.  I will be the first to apologize, admit my mistakes, learn from them and move on. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Special Valentine's Day Meal with Chef Stacey Dougan!

The season of love is here and Chef Stacey Dougan is offering up the BEST ROMANTIC LOVE Vegan and Raw Meals ever! I mean really...who wants to cook on Valentine's Day? Wouldn't it be great to surprise that special someone with a fully catered mouth watering vegan meal?

Yup, I think so...So, what are you waiting for?!

Give the gift of a delicious home prepared meal today, or give a gift certificate for private chef services and private cooking lessons from Chef Stacey Dougan!!!

For a full vegan and raw food menu, please visit my website:

Special menu items include:
*Please note, all items can be prepared raw or vegan*
  • Raw Double Chocolate Cherry Cheezecake
  • Chocolate Covered Strawberries
  • Raspberry Cheezecake with Chocolate Mint Sauce
  • Stuffed Peppers with White Wine Risotto
  • "Pretty in Pink" Cocktail
  • Strawberry Napolean with a Coconut Whipped Creme
  • Chocolate Cashew Tarts
  • Chikin or Eggplant Parmigiana
  • Creamy Pesto Chikin with Linguine
  • Citrus Spareribs with Rich Balsalmic Glaze
  • Ginger Scallion Crusted Tofu
  • Braised Mixed Vegetables
  • Carmelized Fennell and Mock Chikin Salad
  • and more!!!

For the full menu visit:

 Gift Certificates for private chef services and private cooking lessons available now!
For more info call: 702-609-3488 or email:

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Romantic Valentines Day with Chef Stacey Dougan!

Raw Food Prep Class by Chef Stacey Dougan at Whole Foods Market Las Vegas Blvd. - Towns Square...
"Raw Romantic Valentine's Day Cuisine"


Greetings Friends!
Come and join me, Chef Stacey Dougan, for a power hour of whole vegan raw food meals that are sure to please your taste buds!
Come and Learn How to Prepare:
 Raw Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Raw Raspberry Cheezecake with Chocolate Mint Sauce
"Pretty in Pink" Raw Vegan Cocktail

Bring a friend and let's have fun learning, laughing and eating together!
Love and Light!

In the spirit of always giving back, we are in full support of the Tonopah Community Garden. We are kindly asking for a minimum donation of $5 that will help to keep the Tonopah Community Garden running strong!

Location:  Whole Foods Market
6689 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Phone:  (702) 589-7711

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Yesterdays catering job with Ms. Michele Comeau was fantastic!  I, along with my "sous chefs" prepared:

Young Coconut Pad Thai with Almond Chile Sauce
Marinated Kale Greens Salad
Cashew Cheeze Dip with Seasoned Jicama Sticks
Mock Salmon 
Herb Cashew Crème Cheese 
Raw Chocolate Mousse Parfait
Fresh Cantaloupe Martinis

Awesome Night!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cucumber Cups, Mock Smoked Salmon, Lemon Chive Yogurt Sauce - all RAW and all VEGAN!

Come and join Chef Stacey Dougan for her next Raw Foods Class at Whole Foods Market Towns Square!
When:  Tuesday August 9th
Time:  6pm - 7pm

Come and learn how to prepare:
Cucumber Cups Stuffed with a Raw Mock Smoked Salmon
and a Raw Lemon Chive Yogurt Dipping Sauce

For More Info and to RSVP Call: (702) 609-3488 or email:

Monday, July 4, 2011

Chef Stacey Dougan at WFM - Towns Square Tues. July 12th at 6pm!!!

Greetings Friends!
Come and join me, Chef Stacey Dougan, for a power hour of whole vegan raw food meals that are sure to please your taste buds!  Bring a friend and let's have fun learning, laughing and eating together!
Come and learn how to prepare:
Young Coconut Pad Thai with Almond Chile Sauce and 
Fresh Watermelon Mint Shooters

Address:  6689 Las Vegas Blvd. South
                 Las Vegas, NV  89119

For more info or to RSVP call:  (702) 335-4377
or email: